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Friday, December 30, 2005


I subscribe to a freelance writing list, which is kind of a joke because I rarely have any time to write my own stuff. Recently I received this request, from someone who aspires to be a U.S. Naval officer:

I'm applying for Naval Officer program, need personnel statement why i'm apply for a commission, personnel/professional goals,
strength/character which will attribute to the wardroom.

My favorite part is where he wants someone to write something about his character, so he can recopy it and pass it off as his own. Classy.

posted by Woodlief | link | (5) comments

Thursday, December 29, 2005

I Am Going to Hell

Something I've come to believe is that the only people who have never wondered about their salvation are those on the express train straight to damnation. And many of them go to church. As Graham Greene's whiskey priest wondered, can the sin of piety ever be overcome? Fornication and drunkenness, yes, but the cool blank face of the pious is an impenetrable fortress.

The corollary of this, it would seem, is that if you have worried over your salvation -- if you bear within you both a belief in the just God and a painful awareness of your own sin -- this is a good sign that you are saved, for the Almighty is, after all, both the just and the justifier.

But now I'm not so sure I have been right about this. The reason, you see, is that I saw "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe" this weekend, and I . . . well . . .

I didn't like it.

I'm going to hell, I know. The people who applauded the movie, on the other hand, have crowns galore awaiting them beyond the pearly gates. But I am going to burn. There must be some great quality in this film that only the regenerate can see. I, however, am blind to it.

How can a God-fearing man not like this movie? It's about Jesus, after all. Plus there are children, and sensitive furry animals, and a happy ending. I am a very, very bad person.

I wanted to like it. I tried. But it seemed like a lot of special effects and no depth to the characters. Lewis's short book written for children did a finer job of developing its characters than this two and a half hour movie that found time to work in a scene of the bombing of London, but couldn't adequately portray Aslan's anguish on his long walk to execution.

But the good people in the movie applauded when it was over. They actually clapped. Further, the critics who have notably panned it are grubby little angry types still bitter over "The Passion." And here I am joining their ranks. I hope I don't have to sit next to them in purgatory. Not unless we are allowed to beat down fellow inmates, in which case there will be room to do the Lord's work even in Hell.

The worst part of all of it is, the only characters I found interesting and believable were Edmund and the Witch. The bad people.

Wicked, I am. Perhaps there is still time for redemption. Alms for the poor, ministry to the lost. If only works could buy us entrance to paradise. Then I would atone for this offense.

But alas, I cannot. I did not like "The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe."

I am going to burn.

posted by Woodlief | link | (26) comments

Monday, December 26, 2005

On Reading

Received a lovely little notebook designed for making notes on what one is reading. Advice in the front says: "... no one should ever finish a book they're not enjoying, no matter how popular or well reviewed the book is."

I took it as a sign that I can put down Robert Heinlein's The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, a recent airport purchase which I've begun to avoid in favor of the Wall Street Journal crossword puzzle. A fav in Libertarian circles, the book is just flat, the characters lifeless, the conversation Randian in its desperation to convey an overarching View Of How Rational People Would Order Things.

In this the Libertarians are little different from other pedantic Utopians. I exempt those who call themselves libertarians. Read closely and think a bit and you'll get the difference.

I recall enjoying Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, but I read it when I was fifteen. Perhaps The Moon is a Harsh Mistress would have been enjoyable then too.

Now I'm on to Godric, by Frederick Buechner. Because life is too short to spend on a book that doesn't ring true. I'm also reading A Reader's Manifesto, by B.R. Myers, a much edited preview of which can be examined here. But the subtitle alone should grab you: "An Attack on the Growing Pretentiousness in American Literary Prose." Among his targets are Don DeLillo, Cormac McCarthy, and Annie Proulx. Delightful.

posted by Woodlief | link | (5) comments

Sweet to Eat

"Eli, you are sweet."

"I know. I'm sweet to eat. You should eat me up, Dad."

I make a munchy tickly face as I walk over to where Eli is painting a wooden toy truck for his brother, a truck destined to be opened and soon forgotten because it is not one of Eli's toys, and hence holds no interest for Isaac.

"But don't really bite me."

I bury my face in Eli's neck and poke his pudgy belly. There is squealing and giggling. And he tastes better than anything I'll get in my stocking.

posted by Woodlief | link | (1) comments